Overrated and over-razored

home sick 2007


1 Stars  2007/89m

“Who do you hate?”

Director: Adam Wingard / Writer: E.L. Katz / Cast: Lindley Evans, Tiffany Shepis, Forrest Pitts, Matt Lero, Tom Towles, Will Akers, Brandon Carroll, Bill Moseley, Jeff Dylan Graham.

Body Count: 12

Laughter Lines: “When a psychopath can invade the sanctity of your home and bleed all over your furnishings… we’ve fallen on dark days.”

Appearances by Shepis and Rob Zombie staples Moseley and Towles seemed to push Home Sick into some odd cult following when it appeared in 2007. Gory, squelchy FX notwithstanding, the ‘great slasher film’ that was promised failed to materialise from beneath this surface of grue.

Entirely unlikeable young folks gather at a dead house party thrown by asshole Tim, which is crashed by Moseley’s admittedly creepy Mr Suitcase, who opens said case to reveal it’s full of razor blades. He then asks each of the attendees to name someone they hate, culminating with the host stating that he hates everybody in the room. Stupid dick. Those named – exes, dealers etc – are violently murdered by a masked loon.

Things sound okay but about halfway through, the majority drag the group to Tim’s survivalist dad (Towles), dance around with guns, and then fall victim to the killer, who is now revealed to be some random demon, not hugely dissimilar from the one in Jeepers Creepers.

What does this have to do with Mr Suitcase? Why is it happening? Why do characters start laughing hysterically for no reason? Forget getting any answers. Instead, we’re left with a crap final girl and some hazy ideas that perhaps some sort of Texas Chain Saw homage was attempted here. Who do I hate? This film. Bye.

Blurbs-of-interest: Tiffany Shepis can also be seen in Bloody Murder 2ScarecrowDead ScaredBasement JackDetour, and Victor Crowley; Moseley was also in Blood NightSilent Night Deadly Night IIITexas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and Texas Chainsaw 3D; Jeff Dylan Graham was in Bloody Bloody Bible Camp; Adam Wingard later directed the much, much better You’re Next.

“Happy Birthday, Sucka!”

fade to black 1980


3 Stars  1980/18/98m

“Eric Binford lives for the movies… Sometimes he kills for them too!”

Director/Writer: Vernon Zimmerman / Cast: Dennis Christopher, Tim Thomerson, Gwynne Gilford, Linda Kerridge, Eve Brent, Norman Burton, Morgan Paull, James Luisi, Mickey Rourke, Peter Horton.

Body Count: 6

Awkward thriller-with-slasher-trim works mainly because of Dennis Christopher’s performance as Eric, an orphaned young man obsessed with the movie world and everything affiliated with it. Outside his dead end job, he takes abuse from his infirm aunt and eventually plucks up the courage to ask cute Monroe-a-like Kerridge out on a date, which she accepts, but is late for, contributing to his imminent meltdown.

He begins to dress up as various movie characters – Dracula, The Mummy, Hopalong Cassidy – and doing away with various people in his life who humiliate or embarrass him, including a young Mickey Rourke as an obnoxious co-worker. Also for the chop are a mouthy hooker, and the B-movie producer who steals Eric’s idea for a film.

A subplot concerning a criminal profiler and his relationship with a sexy cop gets in the way, but this leads to both parties eventually meeting at the Hollywood premiere finale, where things grind to a particularly abrupt halt with little resolution.

A good idea on paper, but possibly too much of a trivia-fest to register as the genre staple it aspires to be.

Blurbs-of-interest: Peter Horton was the lead in Children of the Corn; Tim Thomerson was later in Devil’s Prey.

“But ya can’t go back…”

As the 90s teen horror set turns twenty and we see the ‘teen’ actors appearing in bit-parts on TV playing parents, it’s nice to look back on how much the genre propped itself up on its brethren in terms of marketing – don’t you miss the standard aesthetic?poster-faces2“You know the drill people – line up in a triangular formation. Final girls to the front!”

Challenge yourself to a game of spot the stars: Kelly Brook, James McAvoy, Isla Fisher, and 2 x Eva Mendes.

The Chinese Chainsaw Massace

the deadly camp 1999


1 Stars  1999/81m

Director/Writer: Bowie Lau / Cast: Anthony Wong, Benny Lai, Winnie Leung, Samuel Leung, Lam Tsz Sin, Chak Pui Wan, Ling Ling Chui, Cham Nam Wing, Andy Tsang.

Body Count: 13

I spent a fair whack of time asking about the movie when I backpacked around China in 2006-07 and nobody had heard of it – but were practically brimming over with all manner of American straight-to-DVD horror films to distract me with instead. This may well have been the universe looking out for me as, twelve years later, getting through this pretty abysmal flick made the 81 minutes feel like twelve years.

In spite of being made in 1999, if the mentions of cellphones and DV cameras were removed, you might think this was unearthed from 1984, as three teen couples take a boat out to a deserted island for “3 nights of partying!!” but run afoul of a bandage-masked dweller of the jungle who doesn’t take kindly to intruders and rocks a mean chainsaw (where is he getting the gas for it?)

Also on the isle are four smugglers looking for their missing friends (‘sawed up in the prologue), posing as ‘condom salesmen’ (a trade which they even have a song about), who accidentally set fire to the mentally disabled son of bandage-dude, who then hunts them down to take revenge.

deadly camp 1999

Eventually, things turn into a sort of pre-Wrong Turn turn as two of the group are captured. Despite hearing them scream, the others decide to wait on the beach until the boat comes back! When the killer comes to them instead, they flee into the trees for a showdown, until athletic lead Ken goes all MacGuyver with tentpoles, rocks, rope, and a radio playing a slushy ballad to bait the killer in.

The Mandarin to English translations are mostly reliable, albeit with a few cute grammatical slips (“it’s so scaring!”), some surprising nudity, and a really awkward scene where a captured victim attempts to teach the killer’s son to masturbate in preparation for raping the guy’s own girlfriend!

Sadly, the low-end production values, bizarre tangents (the ‘erotic jokes’ scene is just… well, you wait n’ see), and shallow characters do nothing to help an already years out of date plot that sadly wasn’t a reaction to the Scream-smart resurgence.

deadly camp 1999

This was one sentence I actually understood from the Mandarin I learned – and used repeatedly – for my trip.


malevolence 3 killer 2018 dvd


3 Stars  2018/89m

Director/Writer: Stevan Mena / Cast: Katie Gibson, Kevin McKelvy, Jay Cohen, Alli Caudle, Kelsey Deanne, Scott Kay, Todd Litzinger, Andy Striph, Victoria Mena, Reed Davis, Ashley Wolfe, Adrienne Barbeau, Graceann Dorse.

Body Count: 12

Laughter Lines: “I had to hold his thing so he wouldn’t piss on himself when he went to the bathroom. He probably would’ve complained if he still had his voicebox.”

Malevolence was a film I raved about in the 00s – a showcasing of what can be achieved on low budget via a filmmaker with an eye for great visual setups, even if we’d seen many of them before. Curiously, I’ve yet to review it here. The 2010 prequel, Bereavement, was as handsome, but a sadly dull affair, albeit furnished with a couple of names. Truth be told, I’d all but forgotten about the series when this popped up out of nowhere. The final part of a trilogy that you have to watch as 2 then 1 then 3.

Perhaps Mena took on board some critiques that the first film wasn’t slashy enough and so almost goes ballistic in body count terms for the closing (?) chapter, which picks up right where the first one left off (I’ve waited 15 years to find out what happened after that closet door opened!) – Martin Bristol is on the run, having offed a couple of bank robbers and various nubile teen girls over the years.

malevolence 3 killer 2018

With the FBI looking for him, Martin stalks the surrounding locus of his old homestead, now occupied by three college girls: He offs their sleazy landlord with a lawnmower blade to the head, various neighbours, boyfriends, and finally starts stalking the girls. Devoted violinist Ellie is looking after the neighbour’s daughter, Victoria, after her mom vanishes (read: has been stabbed) and slips into the final girl shoes to escape.

Meanwhile, the feds have tracked down Martin’s mother, living with grandma (the always welcome Barbeau), as they think he’ll naturally navigate himself home again.

Where the original film favoured Friday the 13th Part 2 stylings, things shift to look like Halloween was the primary influence. In fact, with no explanation, the lay viewer might be fooled into thinking they’re actually watching an also-ran from the late 80s given the overarching look of it, with mucho boiler-suited shoulders creeping into the side of the frame and from-head-down creeping.

malevolence 3 killer 2018

As before, acting and dialogue is occasionally a little amateurish and the script too humourless given how dependent on now-laughable clichés it is. Those genre fans looking for modern horror to embrace the tropes of olde in an un-ironic fashion should lap this up as it ticks just about every box from visual composition to a tinkering score that Harry Manfredini could’ve delivered, via a sea of people looking for the missing knife that was just there a moment ago and nobody locking any doors then complaining when people appear from nowhere, squealing “How did you get in!?”

Given that it announces itself as the final part of the series, the ending is also something of a flatline, with the expected reunion of mother and son unwisely written off as a dream sequence and leaving things open for another ten more if Mena so desires.

malevolence 3 killer 2018

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